Project Coast: ‘Vets too silent’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - LAURA LOPEZ GON­ZA­LEZ

THE MED­I­CAL fra­ter­nity has taken a stand – al­beit be­lated – against Dr Wouter Bas­son’s in­fa­mous pro­gramme, dubbed Project Coast, but other pro­fes­sional bod­ies re­main silent, says In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity Stud­ies se­nior re­search fel­low Chandré Gould.

Bas­son’s for­mer Rood­e­poort lab­o­ra­tory has passed into new hands and is used for agri­cul­tural re­search. The new own­ers in­her­ited not only dated decor from Project Coast, but also rows of rusted cages, which once housed the an­i­mal sub­jects – big and small – on which deadly drugs were tested.

Vet­eri­nary sci­en­tist Dr Schalk van Rens­burg was one of only two Project Coast men to ap­ply to the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion for amnesty, said Gould.

To her knowl­edge, no other pro­fes­sional body be­sides the Health Pro­fes­sions Coun­cil of South Africa has acted against a mem­ber in­volved in Project Coast’s hor­rors. It has not acted against higher rank­ing doc­tors who may have signed off on the mass pro­duc­tion of Man­drax and Ec­stasy, she said.

“(There’s) this kind of si­lence among pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tions,” said Gould, speak­ing at a Wits Univer­sity lec­ture last night.

“The vet­eri­nary coun­cil has not taken up any ac­tion against the vet­eri­nar­i­ans in­volved in this pro­gramme. More­over, the vet­eri­nary coun­cil has not seen it nec­es­sary to ad­just any codes of con­duct,” she said.

Bas­son has re­peat­edly stated pub­licly that Project Coast mass man­u­fac­tur­ing of sub­stances such as an­thrax-laced cig­a­rettes, Man­drax, Ec­stasy and weaponised tear­gas were for the pur­poses of “crowd con­trol”.

In a cli­mate of what Gould char­ac­terised as in­creas­ing se­crecy and in­creas­ing pub­lic un­rest, Gould said cit­i­zens must act to check the kind of se­crecy that al­lowed Project Coast to flour­ish.

“It’s ev­ery cit­i­zen’s duty to be vig­i­lant about what’s hap­pen­ing, es­pe­cially be­cause we are see­ing in­creas­ing pub­lic protests.

“We are see­ing a very blunt in­stru­ment be­ing used over and over again (to counter protests) – tear­gas, stun grenades and sharp­point ammunitions. I think we’re see­ing a lot of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions. – Health-e News

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